Thermodynamics of organic electrochemical transistors

Hsin Tseng

Though models describing the operating mechanism of organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) have been developed, these models are unable to accurately reproduce OECT electrical characteristics. Here, the authors report a thermodynamic-based framework that accurately models OECT operation. Despite their increasing usefulness in a wide variety of applications, organic electrochemical transistors still lack a comprehensive and unifying physical framework able to describe the current-voltage characteristics and the polymer/electrolyte interactions simultaneously. Building upon thermodynamic axioms, we present a quantitative analysis of the operation of organic electrochemical transistors. We reveal that the entropy of mixing is the main driving force behind the redox mechanism that rules the transfer properties of such devices in electrolytic environments. In the light of these findings, we show that traditional models used for organic electrochemical transistors, based on the theory of field-effect transistors, fall short as they treat the active material as a simple capacitor while ignoring the material properties and energetic interactions. Finally, by analyzing a large spectrum of solvents and device regimes, we quantify the entropic and enthalpic contributions and put forward an approach for targeted material design and device applications.

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